You can already bet on Saturday‘s G3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes, which takes place at 2:25pm (Newbury). Roger Varian’s Defoe looks a progressive type and the colt is tipped by many as a top St Leger prospect. He could well start as favourite.
Frontiersman hit the bar, in both the Coronation Cup and the Princess of Wales’s Stakes. Can he go one better and score for Charlie Appleby, in this lower grade contest? Others in contention include Agent Murphy, To Eternity, Wall Of Fire and Andrew Balding’s Horseplay.
This encounter is open to thoroughbreds of either sex and the race distance is 1m 5f (left-handed). 3-year-old runners carry 8st 7lb, while older runners shoulder a burden of 9st 4lb. Penalties for winners of G1, G2 and G3 fixtures are 6 pounds, 4 pounds and 2 pounds, respectively. However, these penalties only come into effect if the victory was over a distance of more than 1m 4f. The standard 3lb fillies and mares allowance applies and the purse is £60,000.
The race was first run just after the end of the Second World War, in 1949. Back then, it was known simply as the Oxfordshire Stakes. Geoffrey Freer was manager of Newbury Racecourse at the time and the event was renamed in his honour in 1969.
The 2008 champion was Sixties Icon. Johnny Murtagh rode the bay stallion to the spoils for Jeremy Noseda. Noseda honed his craft under the stewardships of both John Dunlop and John Gosden. Now very much an established pro in his own right, he is also well-respected for his training of Lammtarra, Halling and Balanchine.
Sixties Icon is owned by Susan Roy, was sired by Galileo (2003) and was out of a dam known as Love Divine. This classy bay mare won both the Lupe Stakes and the Epsom Oaks in 2000 and was rated by Timeform at 120. She also foaled the likes of Kissing, Native Ruler, Hamelin and Touch The Sky.
Sixties Icon quickly became a modern-day hero in the mid-late 2000s, also winning the Gordon Stakes (2006), the St. Leger Stakes (2006), the Jockey Club Stakes (2007), the Glorious Stakes (2008) and the Cumberland Lodge Stakes (2008).
Following his retirement, Sixties Icon was sent to stand at the Norman Court Stud, which is near Salisbury in Wiltshire. Hopefully, he has a long and distinguished career ahead of him. Promisingly, he has already sired the winner of a Group race. Chilworth Icon won the Premio Primi Passi, in 2012.
It could certainly be argued that the best known and loved runners was the 1991 champion, Drum Taps. Pat Eddery steered this John Dunlop-trained American bay stallion towards the winners enclosure.
Drum Taps also won the W. L. McKnight Handicap (1990), the Laurance Armour Handicap (1990), the Cumberland Lodge Stakes (1991), the Coppa d’Oro di Milano (1992, 1993), the Henry II Stakes (1992) and the Ascot Gold Cup (1992, 1993). He was named European Champion Stayer in 1992.
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